Treasure Island

François Villon

(c. 1431 – after 5 January 1463 / Paris)

The Ballad Of The Hanged Men

Men my brothers who after us live,
have your hearts against us not hardened.
For—if of poor us you take pity,
God of you sooner will show mercy.
You see us here, attached.
As for the flesh we too well have fed,
long since it's been devoured or has rotted.
And we the bones are becoming ash and dust.

Of our pain let nobody laugh,
but pray God
would us all absolve.

If you my brothers I call, do not
scoff at us in disdain, though killed
we were by justice. Yet ss you know
all men are not of good sound sense.
Plead our behalf since we are dead naked
with the Son of Mary the Virgin
that His grace be not for us dried up
preserving us from hell's fulminations.

We're dead after all. Let no soul revile us,
but pray God
would us all absolve.

Rain has washed us, laundered us,
and the sun has dried us black.
Worse—ravens plucked our eyes hollow
and picked our beards and brows.
Never ever have we sat down, but
this way, and that way, at the wind's
good pleasure ceaselessly we swing 'n swivel,
more nibbled at than sewing thimbles.

Therefore, think not of joining our guild,
but pray God
would us all absolve.

Prince Jesus, who over all has lordship,
care that hell not gain of us dominion.
With it we have no business, fast or loose.

People, here be no mocking,
but pray God
would us all absolve.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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